The Corona Chair
A mid-century classic that looks like it came from the future
The Corona Chair is one of the most popular mid-century Danish designs ever produced. Designed in 1961 by Danish architect and designer Poul M. Volther (1923-2001). Volther’s initial Corona Chair designs were based on having separated pieces of cushions with open spaces between them. This was in an attempt to minimise the use of materials, as these were hard to come by in the period after World War Two. The first model he produced is known as the Pyramid Chair. This was in early 1953, and this early basic model was not a success for Volther. However, today this rare original chair design is much sought after.
The Pyramid Chair was a great testing ground for Volther and is what eventually led to the design of the Corona Chair - his masterpiece. The original Corona Chair frame was constructed from wood on which separated oval shaped cushions were attached, making up the seat and the rising back. The thinking behind this design was to allow the body to relax in various positions. In the following year Volther teamed up with the newly formed Erik Jørgensen furniture factory. Through this partnership a new version of the Corona Chair was developed. The wooden frame was replaced by a chrome-plated steel frame and this new chair was put on sale in 1964. Unfortunately, this model also proved to be unsuccessful with the furniture buying public.
Despite the partnership with a major Danish furniture manufacturer, Volther’s Corona Chair dwindled into unpopular obscurity in the following decades. It wasn’t until a new updated version of the chair was re-launched at the Cologne Furniture Fair in Cologne, Germany in 1997 that this chair found its audience. More than 30 years after its creation, the Corona Chair became a significant talking point among the global furniture community. The same year it was also presented at the Scandinavian Furniture Fair in Copenhagen, Denmark. This time it was a resounding success.
The Corona Chair’s status only grew from there and quickly became an icon of modern furniture design. Today it features in countless movies and TV shows. One of its earliest on-screen roles was in the 1971 Jack Nicholson thriller Carnal Knowledge. Since then it has enjoyed appearances in the hit TV drama series Mad Men, kids movie Harriet The Spy, as well as in the hugely popular Scandinavian series The Killing (Forbrydelsen).
Unfortunately, Volther only experienced the early beginnings of the global admiration for his Corona Chair. Poul Volther passed away in 2001 just before the Corona Chair became a tremendous commercial and critical success around the world. It has become Erik Jørgensen’s most successful item, with sales of almost 3,000 a year. This iconic design has solidified its place in 20th Century design history and is now on display in the majority of the modern art museums throughout the world.
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